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LIFE IN NORWAY

Skiing and Kvikk Lunsj: How Norwegians celebrate Easter

Yellow daffodils, longer days and sunshine. With the arrival of spring comes Easter, a holiday that has a distinctly more wintery feel in Norway compared to the rest of Europe. But how exactly do Norwegians celebrate Easter ? 

Skiing from cabin to cabin is a great easter tradition in Norway.
Photo: Zen Whisk/ Flickr

The great mountain migration

School is out, everything is packed, the skis are tied to the roof and families across the country are cramming into their cars to drive up to the mountains.

For most, Easter is a spring celebration characterised by warm walks in bluebell-covered forests, big dinners and egg hunts in the garden where the daffodils have just sprung, but in Norway, the opposite is true.

If you are to celebrate Easter the Norwegian way, be prepared to layer up and head to the mountains and make the most of the spring snow.

Typically, Norwegians either rent or own a cabin or hike from one cabin to another, spending the night in one spot before moving on to the next. Some prefer a warmer Easter, and many who own a cottage on the coast tend to go there during this period to prepare their boats for summer.

Kvikk Lunsj and oranges

Most Norwegians’ traditional “must-have” Easter food is the simple culinary experience of a Kvikk-Lunsj chocolate (similar to KitKat) and oranges. 

This is a must-have for most Norwegians when they take their ski-break up in the mountains to enjoy the sun. To emphasise just how important the chocolate bar is to the Norwegian Easter, Norwegians eat between sixteen and seventeen million bars of Kvikk-Lunsj during the Easter Holidays, according to Byas.

Photo by Tone Høines on Unsplash

In Norway oranges tend to be a common holiday treat, just as they are also traditional for Christmas, but their significance to the Easter celebrations is perhaps the greatest. This is because oranges used to only be available to purchase in Norway during the winter, and they are at their ripest and sweetest around Easter.

In Norway, oranges tend to be a common holiday treat, but their significance to the Easter celebrations is perhaps the greatest. This is because oranges used only to be available to purchase in Norway during the winter, and they are at their ripest and sweetest around Easter.

Nordic noir and murder mystery

Perhaps the strangest Norwegian Easter tradition is what’s known as “the Easter crime” or “påskekrimmen“. For many, a good Easter entails an equally good crime series, novel or TV show. It is especially atmospheric in the cabins, where you can discuss who might be the killer with your family or friends or where you can cosy up with a crime novel in front of the fire, an almost religious tradition for some.

READ ALSO: Why Norwegians are obsessed with crime fiction at Easter

Nordic crime, also known as “Nordic noir”, has become increasingly popular, with Norwegian authors such as Jo Nesbø, Karin Fossum, Jørn Lier Horst and Agnes Ravatn hitting the international market. Not to mention the obsession with the Danish-Swedish series The Bridge.  

Easter egg hunt

The Easter bunny is a tale also told to Norwegian children, and the annual Easter egg hunt is a must. However, the Norwegian bunny must be of a different breed, as its eggs are distinctively bigger than those of its American or British cousin. In Norway, it is tradition to fill one giant Easter egg with tasty pick-and-mix, Easter marzipan figures and chocolates. Like in the US or the UK, the children have to look for their Easter egg, usually through fun clues or riddles left behind by the “Easter bunny”. The eggs are typically covered in fun Easter illustrations of chickens, bunnies and daffodils. Additionally, many paint and decorate real eggs by blowing out the inside of the egg and painting the shell for decoration. 

Ski and aprês ski

Skiing — either cross-country, alpine or backcountry skiing — is a Norwegian Easter mainstay. Whether you like to exercise, climb mountains, ski down, or simply enjoy the fresh snow on the slopes, there is something for most. 

Cross-country, in particular, is an Easter tradition, where many go on day-long ski trips where they stop on their way to barbecue hot dogs, drink hot chocolate and make their own ski jumps. 

It is also customary to make a couch out of snow and sit on that around a bonfire while working on a tan, though remember to bring something warm to sit on. This is followed by aprês ski with a cold beer, Aperol Spritz or glass of wine in a bar or at home. It’s usually around Easter that Norwegians have their first “utepils.

Cabins, Easter quizzes and board games

Norwegian Easter is built upon the idea of hygge, defined as “a feeling of cosiness, contentment, and well-being found through cherishing the little things”. So lit candles, a warm fireplace, chocolate, blankets to warm you in the snow or fun board games are standard. 

The traditional “Easter quiz” also plays into this, where you either do quizzes with the family at home or send your guesses to national broadcaster NRK’s popular Easter quiz shown on TV. It is also customary to play board games during Easter, and the dice-game Yatzi is particularly popular. 

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